Zika Virus 2017, what you need to know

  • Published
  • 45th Medical Group, Public Health Office

As mosquito season ramps up this summer, we want to provide you with information to keep you and your family safe. Mosquitos have the ability to transmit the Zika virus and the following are the latest facts.


To date there have been no cases of local transmission of the Zika Virus in Brevard County or the 45th Space Wing. Although there have been local cases reported in Florida, most were in the Miami-Dade area in 2016.


What is the 45th Space Wing doing to keep you safe?

The 45th Space Wing Public Health Flight and Civil Engineering’s Pest Management Section are working diligently in coordination with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Health Department, and Brevard County Health Department to ensure that the most up-to-date training and preventive measures are implemented. Currently the Public Health Flight monitors the mosquito population weekly and sends specimen samples for routine testing. Pest management monitors the size of the population and applies preventive treatment as needed.


What is Zika?

Zika Virus is an arbovirus (any of a group of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes) mostly spread by mosquitos that originated in Africa. Zika has recently spread through South, Central and parts of North America, to include local transmission in parts of Florida and Texas. Most people infected are asymptomatic (do not know they have it), some develop flu like symptoms (red eyes, rash, body aches, headaches and fever). Few people develop more serious conditions (birth defects & Guillain-Barre Syndrome). Heath experts still say there is a lot to learn about this virus and the effects.


What is “Local Transmission”?

Local transmission means that there are confirmed mosquitos in a defined geographical area that have Zika Virus in them, and they could potentially bite someone and spread the disease.


How do I get it?

The primary way to get Zika is from the bite of an infected mosquito. Another, less common, way to get Zika is through unprotected sex.


How do I prevent it?

The best prevention is to avoid mosquitos. Use an EPA-approved insect repellent when outside, wear long sleeves and pants to limit exposed skin, and avoid areas where there are large numbers of mosquitos or identified local transmission. Practice safe protected sex by using a condom or dental dam. Abstain from sex if you think you or your partner might have been exposed to Zika Virus, especially if you are pregnant or might be pregnant.


How do I know if I have it?

You may not know, only 1 in 5 infected people will show symptoms. These symptoms include rash, red eyes, headaches, & body/joint aches which last several days to a week. These symptoms are very similar to other viruses and laboratory testing is required to determine if you actually have Zika. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have traveled to a Zika area please consult your Primary Care Manager for direction.


How do I get tested?

In order to be tested for Zika you must be seen by your Primary Care Manager (PCM) and meet certain criteria. Please consult your PCM or Public Health if you have questions.


What if I’m pregnant?

If you are pregnant, or might be pregnant please consult your Primary Care Manager for risk evaluation and to determine if you need to be tested. You may also contact any Florida County Health Department for possible testing.


What about my children?

Your children could get Zika the same way an adult would and have the same symptoms. There is currently no increased risk to children and the same preventive measures should be taken to avoid getting Zika.


Can I have Safe Sex?

You can reduce the potential risk of transmitting Zika through sex by using condoms, dental dams, and not sharing sex toys. However, the only way to eliminate the risk of getting Zika from sex is to abstain from sex. The CDC recommends that if you are pregnant or might be pregnant that you abstain from sex during the duration of your pregnancy if you or your partner have visited an area of local Zika transmission or have potentially been exposed to Zika Virus.


For more information please contact 45th Space Wing Public Health at 321-494-8292 or access one of the following links